Malik Hooker Could Miss ‘A Few Weeks’ With Knee Injury

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said today that safety Malik Hooker could miss “a few weeks” after suffering a knee injury in Sunday’s Week 3 home victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Reich said Hooker was eventually able to return to the game, but reported feeling more “discomfort” in his knee after the Colts wrapped up their 27-24 victory.

“And just digging down into it a little bit more it looks like he’s going to miss a little bit of time,” the second-year head coach said in his weekly conference call with reporters.

Asked if the team has explored the possibility of placing Hooker on injured reserve — which would keep him out a minimum of eight weeks if the Colts were to use one of its two return-from-IR spot on the safety — Reich said “we haven’t discussed that at this point.”

With Hooker now working his way back, the Colts will rely on rookie Khari Willis to step in at the free safety spot. Willis — the Colts’ fourth-round (109th-overall) selection in this year’s NFL Draft out of Michigan State — has impressed through three games so far; his 12 total tackles ranks fifth on the team.

“Khari’s been getting plenty of play time, but now with Malik being out for a little bit, Khari, obviously, his role is going to significantly increase,” Reich said. “And every indication we have from Khari is this guy, he’s a ballplayer, and he’s ready for this opportunity.”

Others at the safety position that could see added playing time include Rolan Milligan and George Odum.

Other injuries

The Colts are in wait-and-see mode to gauge the injury status of two other key players.

Top wide receiver T.Y. Hilton re-aggravated a quad injury just before halftime of Sunday’s game against the Falcons and did not return.

“We’ll see how he progresses this week,” Reich said when asked for an update on Hilton’s status.

The eighth-year veteran first appeared on the injury report last Wednesday, and was questionable heading into the game. He would log eight receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown before heading to the locker room with team trainers.

Linebacker Darius Leonard, meanwhile, remains in the concussion protocol, according to Reich.

Leonard started feeling concussion-like symptoms after the team’s Week 2 victory over the Tennessee Titans, and did not practice last week. He was ruled out of the Falcons game on Friday.

“The concussion thing, it’s just going to be all protocol-related,” Reich said of Leonard. “So we’ve just gotta check all those boxes. I’m not sure how that will play out for Wednesday and Thursday’s practices yet. So we’re just going to adhere by that protocol and make sure we’re taking care of Darius.”

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